How to avoid scams by booking your hotel on the Internet

May, with its bridges and aqueducts, encourages some people to opt for a citytrip in Europe or more simply to set their summer holidays. And very often today, the choice of hotel is made via the Internet.

There is a new trend nowadays that users are focusing less on the number of hotel stars and more on the ratings given by Internet users on online booking sites than in the past. A rating above 8 out of 10 for a 3-star hotel will generally be considered better than a rating of 7 for a 4-star hotel!

And besides, the question arises as to what these stars are still worth. Take the case of Brussels: a 5-star hotel has even been downgraded to 4-star status for two reasons. The first is that he was saving a lot of money internally. The second is that with the crisis, many companies – austerity obliges – require their executives not to travel in 5-star hotels and to prefer a 4-star hotel to them!

But let’s go back to the online booking sites. If they are more effective than a catalogue or a travel agent – if only because of the fact that the latter cannot visit all the hotels in the catalogues – you should nevertheless be wary of the comments on some websites.

How to avoid scams by booking your hotel on the Internet

In the case of booking.com, there is no danger, because only people who have stayed in the hotel in question can give their opinion. On the other hand, other sites, which we will not name, do not always have the same ethical rule. One of them has just been condemned by the Italian courts for his local site which contained a lot of false comments – in this case completely bogus laudatory comments that were likely to mislead consumers! The fine was rather high since it amounted to 500,000 euros!

But with the Internet, the worst is never definitive. The proof, a site created by researchers at Cornell University in the United States allows to test the comments of travel sites. It’s called Review Skeptic and detects scams with nearly 90% success according to its authors. Unfortunately, only comments in English will be allowed to take the test. But well, it’s not a problem in itself, just go to the English version of the booking site. And so, if you have any doubts about some comments that are too complimentary, just insert them as they are in a small frame adapted for this purpose, click and wait for the result… with 90% success rate.

You are therefore warned and, in principle, protected against excessively crude scams.